Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

MTV resuscitates the video star

March 31, 2009

The old refrain was that “video killed the radio star,” but more recently it’s been commonly said that the “Internet killed the video star” by putting music clips a mouse click away on Web sites such as

In the new media landscape, cable channel MTV, a unit of Viacom, has filled its schedule with reality television shows instead of the music videos it aired nonstop in the 1980s, when it revolutionized the music industry. On Monday, the company announced that it would go back to airing music videos, but only between 3 and 9 a.m., when few viewers are tuned in.

The news was reported in the New York Times. MTV canceled “Total Request Live,” a long-running video countdown, last fall. The show was the last bastion for music videos on the channel, but it performed badly in the ratings. Now, MTV says it will bring back music videos with a block called “AMTV,” in an effort to keep up with changing viewer patterns.

Airing the music videos in the morning is a relatively low-risk proposition for MTV, because those hours do not generate high advertising revenues anyway. Will MTV stick with the music videos that made it famous, or will “AMTV” go the way of “TRL”? Only your remote knows for sure.

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